Formerly known as “call” centers, contact centers help omnichannel contractors improve many aspects of their sales and marketing funnel, including outbound calling, qualifying leads, and setting appointments. If interested in using a contact center, here are a few things you should know.
Remodelers use contact centers to accomplish three primary business goals:
Gain qualified leads. Contractors often reach a point of inefficiency in their handling of and qualifying leads. While using lead-gen companies like Modernize can increase raw lead volumes,you won’t see a return on that investment if you get more leads than you can handle. When the team that touches leads first is stretched thin, your sales team might get unqualified leads, or your response time will be too slow. Contact centers can handle initial leads to avoid these problems.
Improve set rates. A sales-oriented contact center ensures each lead is handled professionally and efficiently. Speed-to-lead improves, which makes a great difference in set rates. Our data consistently shows that conversion rates are highest when a lead is called less than 30 seconds after a lead comes in. After that, conversion rates fall off a cliff. Contact centers also remove common tactical errors with the right tools. For example, phone calls can trigger spam warnings on prospects’ phones. But, the best centers use tools like First Orion, Hiya, and New Star to ensure every outbound call is identified and more likely be answered.
Boost rep recruitment and retention. Knowledgeable, sociable, and commission-motivated salespeople are hard to find and retain. But, your sales positions would be more desirable if your reps were not burdened with cold calling or handling unqualified leads. If you don’t offer the best resources, you risk losing valuable employees. Contact centers help your salespeople close more business by focusing on qualified leads.
Tips for Finding and Hiring the Right Contact Center
A quick Google search for sales-oriented contact centers using terms like “home improvement,” “remodeling,” “sales,” or “lead generation” will yield a long list of candidates. Referrals are also helpful. Don’t dismiss the tried-and-true method of word-of-mouth.
Once you get a list of potential candidates, you need to vet them. Establish specific metrics for measuring success, what performance you can expect, and how their reporting works. Discuss what technology and processes they use to safeguard personal information, such as phone numbers and emails. Ask about the number of reps that would work on your account and how much experience they have in the home improvement space. See if they are open to a trial period so you can be sure they are a good fit.
Other questions to consider:
- Do they adhere to professional standards such as PACE accreditation?
- Will their operating hours match those of your sales team?
- What systems will they use for tracking, measuring, and connecting with your CRM?
- What services do they use to ensure calls avoid being tagged as SPAM?
- Do they use speech analytics for performance assessment and improvement?
- What opportunities will they offer for price/cost breaks based on volume or other factors?
- Do they offer a bonus structure for agents?
- What are their training and setup procedures?
- How do they train their reps on your business?
- What is their ongoing QA/call scoring process?
- How do they handle leads that come in during non-business hours? LIFO or FIFO method?
- How many times do they call each lead?
Fees. Contact centers generally charge an initial setup fee with additional costs based on volumes of leads or calls, the extent of telephone services, and the number of agents, support staff, and managers on the account. Agents and staff can be billed hourly or monthly.
Remodelers are constantly searching for ways to increase business. Is it time to think about a contact center as a strategic complement? The adage of working smarter, not harder still rings true. If you do it right, a contact center is sure to help your business grow.